By Guy Page
The Green New Deal isn’t really about climate change; it’s about economic change. So says the man who wrote it: Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City.
Chakrabarti left AOC’s staff Aug. 2 to lead an advocacy group. The July 12, 2019 Washington Post reported this exchange between then-Chief Of Staff Chakrabarti and another leading climate change activist:
Because Democratic Socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez concocted the notion of a ‘Green New Deal,’ Climate Director Sam Ricketts of the floundering presidential campaign of Washington Governor Jay Inslee sought guidance from her Chief of Staff Saikat Chakrabarti.
‘The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is that it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all,’ Chakrabarti told a dumbstruck Ricketts, whose candidate had made the coming climate apocalypse the center of his pitch to voters.
‘Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?’ said Chakrabarti to his surprised fellow leftist. ‘Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.’
The same goes for United Nations global climate change policy. Dr. Ottmar Endenhofer, a leader of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told a German magazine in 2010:
One has to say clearly: we are effectively redistributing world wealth through climate policy. That the owners of coal and oil are not enthusiastic, is obvious. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy.
U.N. climate policy led to the 2015 Paris Climate Accords, from which President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. in June, 2017. Meanwhile the state of Vermont remains committed to aggressive carbon reductions, and the 2020 Legislature is expected to consider legislation that will further limit carbon emissions in home heat, transportation, and power generation.
Any Nazi or Marxist with a sense of history has reason to hate and fear the U.S. of A. American capitalism and constitutional government first defeated right-wing National Socialism in WWII, then thrashed left-wing Marxist Socialism in the Cold War. Socialist activists of all stripes loathe its powerful capitalist economy and its Constitution affirming individual rights. For the pure socialist, protection of speech, firearms and property rights are just capitalist tools used to oppress disadvantaged “social” groups, be they national (“Aryan” Nazis), economic (the Marxist proletariat) or identity (gender/ethnic/sexuality etc. of modern socialists).
Despite having lost two 20th century wars, true believers of socialism — like Chakrabarti, apparently — haven’t given up. Some have seized on climate change as the strongest excuse yet for socialism. Neither corporate stockholders nor American voters will move fast enough to rescue the world from climate disaster, GND supporters like Bill McKibben of Ripton say [from his new book “Falter,” pg. 201]. The U.N. will lead the way, but America must do its part and adopt the economic downsizing of the Green New Deal and the unprecedented wealth redistribution of the Paris Climate Accords. Our cherished American consumerism and individual freedom are destroying the world, the Climate Socialists say. They offer the 21st century a choice: survive under socialism or suffer under a climate broken by unrestrained capitalism and individual freedom.
Happy consumers of American freedom and prosperity must ask themselves honestly: what if the socialists are right? What if Marxism — so wrong so often about so much, the greatest source of mass misery the world has ever known — is right this time? Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Are Americans so in love with the Good Life and personal empowerment as to be willfully blind to the threat of impending global disaster? Will our children’s children curse us?
Here are the two fundamental questions that must be answered by Vermont, national and international climate change policy makers:
- Is the climate warming, will the effect be disastrous, and is the cause mostly man-made?
- If the answer to No. 1 is an unequivocal “yes”, are the Paris Climate Accords and the Green New Deal the best fix? Are there more workable, less disruptive strategies?
Political prejudice and wishful thinking cannot answer Question No. 1 — only objective climate science will do. And that’s where it gets frustrating. NASA claims that “Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.” But while 97% of climatologists indeed say humans bear some level of responsibility, they won’t say how much. It could be a lot, or just a little. Americans will need more certainty before they mortgage the national house and give away all they possess to the poor.
Which leads to Question No. 2. Ethical people agree that if humanity is indeed ruining the climate, then humanity should clean up its mess ASAP. But does it follow that the U.S. should radically retool its economy and energy grid while simultaneously giving trillions of its treasure to the world (with a fat cut for the U.N. middleman)? Is that really the best solution?
It’s a fact: the 14-page GND bill introduced Feb. 9 by Chakrabarti’s boss reads like a socialist wishlist. Labor unions, trade rules, wage standards, “border adjustments,” all overseen by a government with unprecedented power — it’s all the stuff of Bernie Sanders’ fondest dreams. And say bye-bye to fossil fuels. The GND insists on “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.” Article Six of the Paris Climate Accords commits all signatories to “the use of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes towards nationally determined contributions.” That’s Diplo-Speak for “rich countries give trillions of dollars to developing countries.” Not surprisingly, the majority of the world’s nations love the idea.
Talk about a one-two punch. America simultaneously downsizes its economy while giving away what little it has left to other countries, while enriching a cut-out organization whose leadership has little love for the USA and many of its allies — most notably, Israel. Many Americans would see this plan as a recipe for national disaster — and perhaps even conclude that disaster is in fact the goal.
What else could be done? To increase carbon-free power, America could double-down on existing zero-carbon, high-energy output generators like hydro and nuclear power, while building wind and solar power when and where it makes economic sense. There’s no need to duplicate the top-down failure of renewable-crazy Germany, which hasn’t met carbon-emission goals and has been forced to build new coal-burning plants. The U.N. might want to first try “geoengineering” — taking direct action to cool the globe by (for example) seeding clouds with harmless sulphur, as National Geographic reported.
But for Paris and GND supporters, it’s their way or the highway. Anyone who objects is labeled a “climate denier” or worse. Americans need to ask: where is the GND/Paris highway going? And is there a better way to get there?
Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.